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The ability to collect data and share insight across the company in a programmatic and scalable way is proving to be a true competitive advantage.

Who’s doing it well? Forrester calls them the insights-driven business. Perhaps more tellingly, Forrester calls them predators and they are eating their competition for lunch.

In a recent webinar,  The 5 competencies of insights-driven businesses, Senior Forrester Analyst Cinny Little presented both the business case and the critical path brands must follow if they want to transform from predator to prey—from data aware to truly insights driven.

Watch an on-demand recording of the webinar now, or check out our recap below.

How do insights-driven businesses differ from their data-aware prey?

The first differentiator is growth. According to Forrester, insights-driven businesses are growing 30% annually—eight times faster than the global GDP. Collectively, they are set to make $1.8 trillion by 2021.

Insights-driven business create differentiating experiences, products and services by applying insights at scale to create competitive barriers. They do this by displaying five competencies:

1. Strategy: they elevate insights and data to create a competitive advantage.

2. People: they create a cross-functional insights organization and culture.

3. Process: they foster iterative insight development within governance and measurement process.

4. Technology: they implement a technology architecture to ensure closed-loop learning and optimization.

5. Data: they capture, manage and secure data from all sources and make it accessible for insights.

What does it take to be an insights-driven business?

The competencies are not “magical” but they are key areas of focus. But like any transformative process, you can’t do everything at once. Determining where to focus your effort and financial investments is foundational.

The process starts with an objective assessment of your own business and your competition. This includes, but is not limited to, several key areas. For example:

1. Your firm shares data that is not actionable. If it’s not actionable, it’s not an insight.

2. Your competitors seem to be more effective at sharing and actioning insights. Acknowledge that your competitors might not be “in” your industry.

3. Your company believes that there are competitive barriers that shield you from insights-driven predators.

4. You have the support of senior-level stakeholders and executives. The drive to transform will benefit greatly from senior leadership. It is possible to drive change from the grassroots but some level of senior buy-in is mission critical.

5. The people in your organization understand that “data” does not tell stories, people tell stories. Companies that employ or train people with so called soft skills, like storytelling, are more effective at actioning insight.

6. The insights teams talk about “business outcomes,” not research outcomes. That mindset aligns priorities and goals and integrates insight sharing into the fabric of the business.     

3 key takeaways identified by Forrester

1. Data-aware companies are data driven. Insights-driven businesses are output driven.

Being insight driven doesn’t mean you have to think about data first. Rather, consider the strategy, business objective or experience you want to optimize. Then think about the data and insight you require to deliver against those goals. In other words, understand what you want to achieve before you think about the data you need.

2. There is an alarming gap between corporate intention and investment and practical application.

While businesses are increasing their strategic and financial commitment to data collection and analysis, only 45% of decisions are made using data and analysis versus “gut feeling” or opinion… and that’s down from 49% in 2016.

3. Stop doing work nobody cares about

Data doesn’t drive action. And the hard reality is, neither do reports and dashboards filled with data. While they are required in some cases, much of the time they are largely ignored or considered disposable. Digital-first features like the Stakeholder Hubs on Vision Critical’s customer intelligence platform are an efficient,  actionable way to share insight with key stakeholders in a fluid and informal way that makes it usable and accessible to the entire business.

There is so much more to learn

This is, of course just a recap. When someone as knowledgeable as Senior Forrester Analyst Cinny Little talks about the subject she has built her career on, you know there far many more nuggets of wisdom to found.

If you think you have time for a wait-and-see strategy, you’re wrong.

Don’t let that knowledge go to waste, watch an on-demand recording of our webinar now.

Insight-Driven Decision Making

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Ben Hudson

As a marketing, advertising and communications professional, Ben has worked with iconic brands such as Telus, Four Seasons, Boston Pizza, iHeartMedia, YVR and The University of British Columbia. In addition to helping Capilano Suspension Bridge Park win the BCMA Marketer of the Year, Ben’s work has been recognized at the Lotus Awards, Applied Arts, Webby, CA, One Show, IABC and the Marketing Awards. West Coast through and through, Ben grew up and lives in Vancouver with his growing family and big black dog.
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